Chinese consumers were recently shocked by the "cherry incident". Even though 199 samples from the environment, products, and personnel all tested negative, the single positive test from the cherry sample destroyed consumer trust in the food safety of imported cherries. Furthermore, on the 25th of January, authorities in Shijiazhuang announced that additional test yielded no positive results. Still, consumers treated imported fruit with caution. Manager Zheng, spokesperson for Kingo Fruit Trade Shanghai Co., Ltd., recently talked about the "cherry incident".
"The cherry import season officially began in November last year. Several ten thousand shipping containers have already arrived in China since then. Not a single inspection found anything wrong in any of these containers until the recent "cherry incident". Upon arrival these shipping containers pass through multiple inspections and disinfection procedures at customs, warehouses, and retail locations. Only then are customers able to purchase the fruit. People in the industry are aware of the multiple tests and disinfection procedures that fruit go through to ensure product quality and food safety. However, many consumers are not aware. They only see the "cherry incident" and worry that infected fruit ends up in the supermarket. I can understand why from their point of view this news is worrying," said manager Zheng.
Kingo Fruit Trade promotes North American cherries
"I think that the industry needs to focus on restoring consumer trust. The incident has already occurred and can not be changed, but the industry is still dealing with the consequences. For example, companies can inform the public about the tests and disinfection procedures their products pass through. This will give consumers more confidence about food safety in the Chinese market. They can see for themselves how strict the inspection standards are," explained manager Zheng. "I also think that this incident shows positive sides of the import fruit industry. The Chinese market develops quickly, and market information swiftly enters mainstream media. This type of information has a huge impact on consumer patterns. People clearly care a lot about issues of food safety and product quality."
Mr. Liu Jinchuan (center), chairman of the board of Kingo Fruit Trade, with suppliers
In 2020, the Chinese import volume of fruit declined by 30% in comparison with the previous year. Some Chinese consumers turned their attention to premium domestic fruit instead. They quickly realized that domestic fruit can compete with import fruit in terms of flavor and product quality, and the price is often much lower. In addition, Chinese consumer worries about the food safety of import fruit also strengthened the competitive position of domestic fruit.
When asked about import market trends in the next half year, manager Zheng replied, "as the weather turns warmer and the outbreak of Covid-19 is brought under control in China, many industries will recover to former levels and consumer power will rise again. However, the conditions in overseas markets will have an impact on the Chinese market and the global outbreak of Covid-19 is far from under control. This is not just a question of distribution and customs inspections, but also relates to consumer trust in import fruit."
Chuk (left) and colleagues
Kingo Fruit Trade also adjusted its marketing strategy in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The company reduced import volumes and placed more emphasis on the retail of premium domestic fruit. When asked about the competitive strengths of Gold Fruit Trade, manager Zheng replied, "one of our advantages is our extensive service radius. Kingo Fruit Trade was established by CEO Liu Jinchuan in 1986. The company developed over a period of 34 years and now has branch offices in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Guangzhou. The company sells fruit to supermarkets and fruit stores in first-, second-, and third tier cities throughout China as well as on e-commerce platforms. Customers can purchase our import fruit through a variety of retail channels.
"Furthermore, we work closely together with our suppliers. That is one of our main work concepts. That is why we do not just import fruit, we also provide suppliers with market information and post-sales services. We also work with some suppliers to develop brands and diversify retail strategies."
Kingo Fruits Co., Ltd.
"Although the import market suffers from the impact of the pandemic, I do believe there is huge market potential in imported fruit. Most of our suppliers come from South America and North America, but we are also looking for suppliers in South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand."
For more information:
Kingo Fruits Co., Ltd.
Tel.: +86 13925017991